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Zscaler vs. Crowdstrike: 4 Key Differences and How to Choose

February 22, 2024
Last Updated: February 22, 2024
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What Is Zscaler?

Zscaler is a cloud-based cybersecurity platform designed to secure your organization’s internet traffic. It is built around the zero trust security paradigm, which states that all traffic, even from known users, should be continuously validated and inspected. It operates on a multi-tenant distributed cloud architecture, and provides solutions like secure web gateways, data loss prevention, and advanced threat protection.

Zscaler has a cloud-native architecture, which is intended to be easy to deploy, and allows it to replace traditional network security appliances. 

What Is Crowdstrike? 

Crowdstrike is a cybersecurity technology firm that provides cloud-workload and endpoint security. Crowdstrike’s flagship product, Falcon, is a cloud-native endpoint protection platform that uses machine learning algorithms to detect and prevent threats.

Falcon’s focuses on real-time protection. It monitors and records events on your endpoints, providing detailed visibility into potential threats. Like Zscaler, it uses a cloud-native design that prioritizes easy deployment and scalability.

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The Dark Side of EDR

  • 7 key considerations when evaluating EDR solutions
  • Learn about the dark sides of EDR for small teams
  • Explore associated costs: direct and intangible

Zscaler vs. CrowdStrike: 4 Key Differences

1. Core Offerings and Packages

Zscaler provides a suite of solutions mainly focusing on network security, including secure web gateways, sandboxing, data loss prevention, and firewall as a service. These offerings are bundled into various packages, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Crowdstrike focuses more on endpoint protection. Its Falcon platform offers threat detection, incident response, and forensics. While it may not have as diverse an offering as Zscaler, it provides a stronger solution for corporate endpoint security.

2. Performance and Efficiency

Zscaler intercepts and inspects network traffic, so it could have an impact on network request latency. Crowdstrike, on the other hand, operates on endpoints like laptops and servers, so it could potentially slow down these devices.

Zscaler’s cloud-native architecture aims to provide high performance and low latency, even at large scale, which is important for organizations relying on cloud-based applications. Its distributed nature allows internet traffic to be optimally routed, reducing bottlenecks.

3. Pricing and Licensing

Zscaler offers a subscription-based pricing model. The cost varies based on the number of users and the selected product bundle. For instance, the ZIA and ZPA bundles are priced per user, per year, with volume discounts available for larger organizations. They also offer a free trial period for new customers to test the platform.

CrowdStrike also follows a subscription-based pricing model but it’s based on the number of endpoints protected. They offer a free trial for their Falcon Prevent antivirus solution. For their other solutions, pricing is available upon request. Both platforms provide various payment terms, including monthly, annual, or multi-year subscriptions.

4. User Experience and Interface

Zscaler’s platform uses a cloud-native architecture, and its user experience aims to be consistent across all devices. The administrative console provides a complete view of the network and its security status. However, some users have reported that the initial setup can be complex due to the extensive range of settings and configurations.

CrowdStrike’s Falcon platform also provides a user-friendly interface and dashboard, with a real-time view of the organization’s threat landscape. It offers the ability to drill down into detailed threat information. However, some users have mentioned that the reporting functionality could be more robust.

Download our comprehensive eBook

The Dark Side of EDR

  • 7 key considerations when evaluating EDR solutions
  • Learn about the dark sides of EDR for small teams
  • Explore associated costs: direct and intangible

Zscaler Pros and Cons

Zscaler offers a respected suite of security solutions, but like every technology, it has its strengths and weaknesses.

Pros of Zscaler

Zscaler’s zero-trust network access (ZTNA) approach provides an extra layer of security for organizations. This approach assumes that every user and device is potentially a threat, regardless of whether they are within the organization’s network or outside of it. It then verifies and authenticates every request as if it originated from an open network.

Another advantage of Zscaler is its cloud-native architecture. This feature allows the platform to provide real-time security updates on the newest threats without any need for manual updates. It is scalable and provides security services as part of the network fabric, which is useful for large, distributed organizations.

Cons of Zscaler

One of the most common complaints about the platform is its lack of detailed logging and reporting. For businesses that require extensive audit trails for compliance or troubleshooting purposes, this can be a significant disadvantage.

Another potential downside is the platform’s reliance on the cloud. While this provides many benefits, it also means that if devices lose their connection to the internet or the corporate network, they might not be able to access Zscaler’s services.

Crowdstrike Pros and Cons

Crowdstrike similarly has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look.

Pros of Crowdstrike

One of the main benefits of Crowdstrike is its AI-driven threat detection. This feature aims to identify threats quickly and reduce the false positive rate.

The second benefit of Crowdstrike is its reporting capabilities. The platform provides logs and reports that can help your team track and analyze security incidents. This feature is geared towards businesses that need to comply with specific regulations or standards.

The Cons of Crowdstrike

One of the main criticisms of Crowdstrike is its pricing structure. Some users find Crowdstrike to be more expensive than other platforms, which can be a barrier for small to medium-sized businesses.

Another potential downside is the platform’s heavy reliance on AI for threat detection. While this can help to identify threats quickly, it might miss more complex or nuanced threats that a human analyst could catch. Lastly, some users report that the Crowdstrike installer and interface are clunky and difficult to use.

Zscaler vs. CrowdStrike: How to Choose?

Zscaler and Crowdstrike are fundamentally different solutions: the first is a ZTNA solution that secures threats via the network layer, and the second is an endpoint security solution. In many cases, these solutions can be combined. However, if you need to choose one of the other, here are the main considerations:

  • If your organization manages security in line with the zero trust paradigm, and prefers the convenience of security services delivered as part of the network fabric, Zscaler might be the better option. 
  • If you feel that endpoints are the weakest link in your security chain, Crowdstrike provides stronger protection for endpoints with AI-driven threat detection.

Keep in mind that both platforms offer free trials, so you can test them out before making a decision. You should also consider consulting with an IT specialist or hiring a cybersecurity consultant to help you determine which platform is the best fit for your business

Related content: Read our guide to endpoint security management

Cynet 360: Ultimate ZScaler and Crowdstrike Alternative

Cynet 360 is a holistic security solution that protects against threats to endpoint security and across your network. Cynet provides tools you can use to centrally manage endpoint security across the enterprise.

Cynet’s intelligent technologies can help you detect attacks by correlating information from endpoints, network analytics and behavioral analytics with almost no false positives. 

With Cynet, you can proactively monitor entire internal environments, including endpoints, network, files, and hosts. This can help you reduce attack surfaces and the likelihood of multiple attacks. 

Cynet 360 provides cutting edge EDR capabilities:

  • Advanced endpoint threat detection—full visibility and predicts how an attacker might operate, based on continuous monitoring of endpoints and behavioral analysis.
  • Investigation and validation—search and review historic or current incident data on endpoints, investigate threats, and validate alerts. This allows you to confirm the threat before responding to it, reducing dwell-time and performing faster remediation.
  • Rapid deployment and response—deploy across thousands of endpoints within two hours. You can then use it to perform automatic or manual remediation of threats on the endpoints, disrupt malicious activity and minimize damage caused by attacks.

Learn more about our EDR security capabilities.

In addition, Cynet 360 provides the following endpoint protection capabilities:

  • NGAV—providing automated prevention and termination of malware, exploits, Macros, LOLBins, and malicious scripts with machine learning based analysis.
  • User Behavioral Analytics (UBA)—detecting and preventing attacks using compromised credentials through the use of behavioral baselines and signatures.
  • Deception technology—planting fake credentials, files and connections to lure and trap attackers, mitigating damage and providing the opportunity to learn from attacker activity.
  • Monitoring and control—providing asset management, vulnerability assessments and application control with continuous monitoring and log collection.
  • Response orchestration—providing manual and automated remediation for files, users, hosts and networks customized with user-created scripts.

Learn more about the Cynet 360 security platform. 

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